Maori Heritage Council on a mission to recognise culture with release of new guiding document
Promoting the value of Maori heritage to all Kiwis is the key message in a newly released Heritage New Zealand publication.
Tapuwae, which translates to sacred footprint, identifies the statutory functions the Maori Heritage Council will work within under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act as well as the role of the council and aspirations for Maori heritage.
"The council believes that Tapuwae will help replace the sense Maori heritage [being] a sideline of this nation's life, culture and consciousness by promoting an understanding of its value," said council chairman John Clarke.
"Maori heritage is of value to not only Maori, but to all New Zealanders."
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The new document provides the council with a clear framework to work from and Clarke hoped it would also prove to be helpful to the public.
"It gives them a guide to actually request their places of interest be put on the heritage list.
"I see this as nation-building. It tells us who we are and gives us pride and joy about our past."
The council believed Maori heritage places were taonga (treasure), as expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and Clarke said Tapuwae would help clarify what the Maori Heritage Council could identify as heritage sites.
"It just broadens the whole opportunities for Maori to identify places of significance for other reasons," Clark said.
He praised the work of his fellow council members in developing Tapuwae, as well as the input from former council members and Heritage New Zealand staff.
"The Maori Heritage Council's role is critical to Heritage New Zealand's positive engagement with iwi, hapu and whanau," Clarke said.
"Tapuwae articulates a clear vision for how that can be achieved with Te Tiriti o Waitangi being the foundation document for Heritage New Zealand to work from.
Heritage New Zealand chief executive Andrew Coleman hoped the document, which had been in the works for a couple of years, would get Kiwis to notice and engage with historic sites.
"I hope it will actually encourage people to go along and see these places and understand their history and significance."
- Tapuwae is available to read and download from heritage.org.nz.